WTO: US tariffs violate global trade rules, US: you have no power here
WTO ruling finds that US tariffs on aluminum and steel imports introduced in 2018 violate global trade rules and US rejects the finding
The World Trade Organization (WTO) dubbs US tariffs on steel and aluminum imports introduced by the US during the term of former President Donald Trump as a breach of global trade rules and calls Washington to backtrack on its measures.
The case was brought forward against the US by China, Switzerland, Norway and Turkey, while Russian and Indian cases are still pending.
Trump claimed then that the tariffs were imposed due to "national security" reasons, however, the WTO slammed the allegations stating that the border taxes did not come "at a time of war or other emergency."
To balance the bilateral trade deficit, the US, under the Trump administration, raised taxes on select Chinese imports in 2018. The following year, both countries traded multiple rounds of retaliatory tariffs. The Trump administration and the Chinese government inked a two-year trade agreement known as Phase One in January 2020.
Washington said that it "strongly rejects" the "flawed" findings, stressing that it will not revoke or change the measures.
The Assistant US Trade Representative Adam Hodge said Following the ruling that Washington "strongly rejects" the "flawed" findings, stressing that it will not revoke or change the measures.
"The Biden administration is committed to preserving US national security by ensuring the long-term viability of our steel and aluminium industries," Hodge said.
Hodge stressed that the US policy for over 70 years states that, "issues of national security cannot be reviewed in WTO dispute settlement and the WTO has no authority to second guess the ability of a WTO member to respond to a wide range of threats to its security."
China called on the US to, "correct its wrongful conducts as soon as possible," and respect the ruling.
The United States is able to appeal, however, the WTO Appellate Body has been blocked since Trump's term, which hinders Washington in a legal dilemma unable to deliver its appeal.
Hodge said that his country will not "stand idly by" as its steel and aluminum industry is threatened by China's overcapacity, calling the threats a "national security" concern.
"We do not intend to remove the Section 232 duties as a result of these disputes," the US official said in a statement.
The US Steel Manufacturers Association also criticized the WTO ruling and declared support for Washington's decision to reject the ruling.
In 2018, Trump imposed 10% tariffs on aluminium and 25% on steel, under Section 232 of a 1962 act that permits the nation's leader to regulate imports if they become a threat to national security.
The US backtracked on previously imposed EU tariffs, which brought Brussels to pull the union's case against the United States at the WTO, however,
US President Joe Biden said last May that the issue of removing the Trump-era trade tariffs imposed on Chinese imports was "under consideration" in light of the spiraling inflation mainly caused by Western sanctions against Russia.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen asked then the administration to eliminate some tariffs, stressing the harm they do to US consumers and businesses.
Tariffs on Chinese imports have been a source of dispute within the Biden administration for months, with Yellen being a vocal supporter of the move. The US Treasury Secretary feels that lifting tariffs is an effective way to reduce inflation in the country, despite rising energy and food prices.
This view is disputed by US Trade Representative Katherine Tai and other officials who see tariffs as part of a broader US plan to address China's trade practices.
Bernd Lange, a member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and the chair of the European Parliament's Committee on International Trade, stated on December 4 that the European Union should lodge a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the US regarding the contentious Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
According to the lawmaker, the measure would make it very evident that Washington's activities are against WTO regulations.